(Justin Meram scored for Columbus on Tuesday night – USA Today Sports)
The Columbus Crew took advantage of being at home and rolled to a 4-1 win over New York City Football Club on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff.
The second leg of the playoff will be held Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Since they got a road goal from David Villa in the 78th minute, NYCFC can win 3-0 on Sunday and that would tie the aggregate at 4-4, with the road goal as the tiebreaker. If Columbus gets a road goal, NYCFC would have to win by four goals to avoid overtime and a shootout.
Columbus got on the board early, as Ola Kamara scored six minutes in to make it 1-0 Crew. He got the rebound off of a brilliant save from NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson to deny Federico Higuain.
In the second half, Alexander Callens was given a straight red card for an elbow on Justin Meram.
The Crew responded with two goals in ten minutes, Artur in the 58th and Meram in the 68th, to open up a commanding 3-0 lead.
NYCFC captain David Villa scored in the 78th minute to make it 3-1, which would have been a fine score to take back to Yankee Stadium.
Columbus put the pressure on late, and Harrison Afful scored in the 93rd minute to give them a dominant 4-1 victory.